Review of the USAA Military Affiliate American Express® and World MasterCard®

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Feb 19, 2016 | Updated Sep 14, 2016

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USAA offers two similar military affiliate credit cards: the USAA Military Affiliate American Express® and the USAA Military Affiliate World MasterCard®.

These cards are only available to members of the military, active or honorably discharged, as well as certain members of their family. Click here for details on USAA eligibility.

These two credit cards offer some small rewards but they also let you pick a military affiliate when you’re approved. USAA will make donations to that organization when you open the account, make purchases, and keep the card active. Some example organizations are listed below.

Keep reading to learn what they offer, and if one of them might be a good credit card for you.

USAA Military Affiliate American Express®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 11.15%-26.15% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received an discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • Earn rebates up to 1.25% on your everyday purchases.
  • Enjoy variable rates as low as 10.15% APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • No annual fee and no minimum finance charge.
  • Your cash rebate is awarded every January for the purchases made the previous 12 months.
  • There's no limit to the amount you can earn.
USAA Military Affiliate Card
Apply Now

USAA Military Affiliate Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 11.40%-26.40% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received a discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • Special Offer: 0% Intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers that post within the first three months. After 12 months, the 11.40% to 26.40% variable regular APR will apply.
  • Show your military pride while supporting the affiliate group of your choice.
  • Get 2,500 bonus points after you make your first purchase.
  • Redeem your points for cash, merchandise, gift cards, travel or donate to your favorite military affiliate group.
  • No annual fee and no minimum finance charge.

Military Affiliates

USAA will make donations to the military affiliate of your choice. When you open your account, you’ll be able to choose an affiliate from several different branches of the military, along with veteran organizations.

Some of your choices include:

Air Force Army Coast Guard Marines Navy Veteran Groups
Air Force Association (AFA) 101st Airborne Division Association (101st) Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) 1st Marine Division Association (FMDA) Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) The American Legion
Blue Star Families (BSF) Army Athletics (AA) Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Marine Corps Association & Foundation USNA Alumni Association & Navy Athletics American Veterans (AMVETS)
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Naval Aviation Museum Foundation (NAMF) Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Norwich University Alumni Association (NUAA) Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH)
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Society of the First Infantry Division U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) The United States Navy Memorial (USNM) Virginia Military Institute Alumni Association (VMIAA) The Sons of the American Legions

The Rewards

As you can see, the American Express version of the card includes an extra reward category that the MasterCard doesn’t.

Military Affiliate American Express

This card provides:

  • 2 points per dollar on gas and grocery purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 2,500 bonus points when you make your first purchase

Military Affiliate World MasterCard

  • 1 point per dollar on all purchases
  • 2,500 bonus points when you make your first purchase

The Benefits

These cards offer very similar additional benefits, but what you receive may differ from what you see here. Check your Guide to Benefits to learn the benefits you have and how to access them.

Perks

  • Concierge Service

    Call to get personal help with all sorts of tasks, like travel planning, making restaurant reservations, finding hard-to-find items, and finding convenient services nearby, wherever you may happen to be.

Military Benefits

You may or may not qualify for some of these benefits; click here to learn more and see if you qualify.

  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

    The SCRA provides help to active-duty service members, and includes benefits like protection for life insurance policies and reduced interest rates on debts incurred before beginning active duty. USAA will provide an interest rate of 4% for pre-existing USAA credit card debt and loans, and a rate of 6% for other debts like credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and others.

  • Deployment Discount

    Members of the military who are deployed or deploying can have the interest rate on their USAA card reduced to 4% for current balances, new purchases, and cash advances.

  • Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

    Active-duty members with permanent change of station can have the interest rate on their USAA card reduced to 4% for current balances, new purchases, and cash advances.

  • Qualifying Campaign Level

    Members who receive a qualifying campaign medal can receive a rebate for all of the interest incurred during their campaign. The qualifying campaign medals include the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Shopping Protections

  • Price Protection

    If you find an item you bought being advertised for a lower price within 120 days of the purchase, you could be reimbursed for the price difference (up to $250 per claim, up to 4 claims per year).

  • Extended Warranty

    Doubles the manufacturer’s original warranty, up to a maximum of 2 years for most items.

Travel Protections

  • Travel Assistance Services

    Available when traveling 100 miles or more from home, provides help like information on travel requirements, locating documents or lost items, or arranging emergency money transfers.

  • Worldwide Automatic Travel Accident, Baggage Delay and Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

    Provides insurance in case of a tragic accident, funds to reimburse purchases if your bags are delayed, and reimbursement if your trip is interrupted for eligible reasons.

  • Rental Car Insurance

    Provides coverage against damage and theft of rental vehicles, as long as the rental company’s own insurance is declined.

Security Benefits

  • Identity Theft Resolution Services

    If you become a victim of identity theft, this service provides help with contacting the credit bureaus, getting a new credit card, and going through the proper legal proceedings.

  • Identity Fraud Expense Reimbursement

    You won’t be held liable for unauthorized charges as a result of identity fraud.

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
Military Affiliate American Express $0 11.15%-26.15% (Variable) 11.15%-26.15% (Variable) 11.15%-26.15% (Variable)
Military Affiliate World MasterCard $0 11.40%-26.40% (Variable) See Terms See Terms
Card Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
Military Affiliate American Express 3% ($200 max) 3% (waived when transferring to USAA account) None
 Military Affiliate World MasterCard See Terms See Terms See Terms
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Military Affiliate American Express None Up to $35 Up to $35
Military Affiliate World MasterCard See Terms See Terms See Terms

The Bottom Line

The USAA Military Affiliate American Express and the USAA Military Affiliate World MasterCard are great ways to support your favorite military organization while earning a few reward points in the process.

These aren’t highly rewarding cards, but you’ll have access to quite a few nice benefits. You can also get a very low APR if your credit is good enough (though you could wind up with a fairly high APR if your credit is not very good). And, if you’re an active member of the military, you may be eligible to have your rates drastically reduced on your card as well as on other debts.

Want to apply for or learn more about one of these cards? Just click the card’s name below.

USAA Secured Card® American Express® Card
Apply Now

USAA Secured Card® American Express® Card

For People with
Bad Credit

  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Interest Rate: 10.40%-20.40% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received a discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • It's a real credit card - not a prepaid or debit card, that helps you build or improve your credit score.
  • When you apply - you'll also be opening a USAA 2-year Certificate of Deposit (CD), an interest-earning deposit account that has a two-year term and a $250-minimum initial deposit.
  • Your CD is a security deposit - the money you put in upfront, from $250 to $5,000, is the card's credit limit.
  • Earn interest on your CD - your deposit is guaranteed to grow. Plus the money is yours to keep as long as you don't default on your payments.
  • Start building your credit - opening a CD lets you get a credit card even if you don't have a credit history or have bad credit.
  • Chip technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.
USAA Secured Card® Platinum Visa®
Apply Now

USAA Secured Card® Platinum Visa®

For People with
Bad Credit

  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Interest Rate: 10.40%-20.40% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • USAA Eligibility Requirement: Today, USAA membership is only open to U.S. military service members, veterans who have received a discharge type of Honorable, and their eligible family members.
  • It's a real credit card - not a prepaid or debit card, that helps you build or improve your credit score.
  • When you apply - you'll also be opening a USAA 2-year Certificate of Deposit (CD), an interest-earning deposit account that has a two-year term and a $250-minimum initial deposit.
  • Your CD is a security deposit - the money you put in upfront, from $250 to $5,000, is the card's credit limit.
  • Earn interest on your CD - your deposit is guaranteed to grow. Plus the money is yours to keep as long as you don't default on your payments.
  • Start building your credit - opening a CD lets you get a credit card even if you don't have a credit history or have bad credit.
  • Chip technology has added security when used at a chip-enabled terminal and greater acceptance worldwide.

If you’re looking for USAA cards that offer more cash back (but don’t donate to military affiliates) check out:

How do you like your USAA Military Affiliate credit card? Does it ease your financial burden while on duty? Tell us about the American Express card or the World MasterCard, we’d love to hear from you!

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